Bo Jackson, the AFC’s 13th-leading rusher and still the second-leading rusher on his own team behind Marcus Allen, was one of four Raiders named to the AFC Pro Bowl team Wednesday.
Jackson became the first athlete to be named to the All-Star team in baseball and the Pro Bowl in football. Jackson was named to the 1989 All-Star game as a member of the Kansas City Royals.
Other Raiders named were defensive end Greg Townsend, guard Steve Wisniewski and center Don Mosebar. It will be the second Pro Bowl trip for Mosebar, the first for Townsend, Wisniewski and Jackson.
Meanwhile, the Rams are sending only one player to the Pro Bowl. Jackie Slater, the Rams’ veteran right tackle, can’t remember when so many of his teammates have been denied so many postseason journeys to Hawaii.
And if Slater can’t remember it, odds are that it probably has never happened.
Slater, 36, was the oldest player voted into the Pro Bowl Wednesday--and only five years younger than the game itself. The Pro Bowl vote also comes the week Slater is about to tie Merlin Olsen for most games played as a Ram, 207. Barring injury, he’ll break the record on the last night of 1990, against the New Orleans Saints.
So, while Henry Ellard, Tom Newberry, Kevin Greene and Doug Smith, among others, will be otherwise occupied on Feb. 3, Slater will just go on, this time alone in Hawaii.
“Well, we didn’t have a good year,” Ram Coach John Robinson said. “I think that’s the way that goes.”
The reverse is true in the Raiders’ camp.
Obviously, Jackson’s flair for the spectacular influenced his peers. In eight games this season, Jackson has recorded touchdown runs of 55 and 62 yards. He added an 88-yard run last Sunday that received some attention.
Jackson has gained 605 yards in 97 carries this season, an average of 6.2 yards per carry.
Jackson initially refused comment on his Pro Bowl selection--he speaks with the print media only after games--but later relented.
“I wouldn’t consider myself unique,” Jackson said of his selection. “I’m just Bo. I’ve been competing in sports all my life. It’s nothing new to me.”
Jackson said he is thrilled at his selection to the Pro Bowl because the voting is conducted by NFL players.
“The only people that understand athletes are athletes,” he said. “You guys (sportswriters) think you know us, but you don’t. So I do take that as a compliment.”
Some thought Townsend’s selection was also long overdue, but this season his statistics were difficult to ignore. Townsend, completing his eighth season, is tied for third in the AFC in sacks with 12 1/2.
“I’ve been thinking about it all the time,” Townsend said of the days leading up to his selection. “I really, really wanted it to happen this year.”
Wisniewski made his first Pro Bowl in his second season, a surprise in that the Raiders switched him from right guard to left this season to make room for Plan B acquisition Max Montoya.